Hospital  >  Patients & Visitors  >  Patient engagement  >  Patient and family partners
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At Sunnybrook we know that involving patients and families and listening to their feedback will help us provide the best possible care that is better informed, more responsive to needs, collaborative and more likely to achieve better outcomes.

If you are a patient or family member and would like to get involved in discussions to help us improve care and service for the 1.2 million patients we see each year, please consider applying to become a patient and family partner.

Our patient and family partners are involved in many different ways, including patient and family advisory councils, committees, working groups, or with a special project. We are also building our capacity to conduct online engagement that you can participate in from home.

Our patient and family partners will help shape the future of care at Sunnybrook.

Become a partner!

What do patient and family partners do? View, and apply to participate in, some of our current partner opportunities at sunnybrook.ca/engagement

Featured partner opportunities


More about our patient and family partner

▸ What are patient and family partners?

Patient and family partners are people who provide staff with the perspective of patients and family members who rely on Sunnybrook’s programs and services. They work in collaboration with the hospital to create a person-centred care environment and experience.

▸ Who can become a patient and family partner?

Patient partners must be a patient, family member or caregiver of a patient, who has received care at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre within the past three years.

▸ Qualities & skills of a patient and family partner

As a patient and family partner, you should:

  • Have a passion for enhancing the health care experience for patients and families
  • Be able to share insights and information about your experiences to help evolve programs, services and hospital priorities
  • Be a good listener
  • Respect other people’s opinions and perspectives
  • Be able to share your thoughts and opinions in a group setting
  • Be open to seeing beyond your own personal experiences to contribute constructively
  • Promote the mission of Sunnybrook through positive interactions with staff, physicians, volunteers, and the community
  • Be open to working with others whose backgrounds, experiences and styles may be different than your own
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English
  • Be able to commit time to participate in meetings (either in person or via phone/teleconference), or provide feedback in other ways (such as over email).
  • Keep information confidential, as appropriate

▸ Role of patient and family partners

Sunnybrook is committed to engaging patients, families and communities in the areas of:
  • Administration (strategy, policies and programs/operations related to the provision of care)
  • Education
  • Research
Patient and family partners can offer the patient and family perspective on a variety of topics and issues, such as:
  • Patient and family experiences
  • How we deliver care
  • Education materials that the hospital provides to patients and families
  • Wording of our policies
  • Facility design and planning
  • Development of research questions and protocols
  • ..and much more!

▸ How are patient and family partners involved in the hospital?

  1. Patient and family advisory council (PFAC) member: participate on a committee as an equal member, providing patient and family advice and perspectives. These committees will meet on a regular basis to:
    • Identify patient and family needs and concerns
    • Provide feedback on current systems and processes in the hospital and specific areas of care
    • Generate new ideas to improve the standard of care
    • Help enhance person-centred care across a hospital program


  2. Patient and family partner on a council, committee or working group: participate on a specific council, committee or working group as an equal member alongside staff members. Patient partners provide their advice and perspectives on the work that the group is undertaking.

  3. Patient and family partner on a special project: participate in a shorter time frame or help with a time-limited project. Some examples are:
    • Consult on new policies and programs that may affect patients and families
    • Participate in focus groups and surveys
    • Participate occasionally in meetings where perspectives of patients and families are needed for decision making
    • Develop and review education or research materials (such as information for patients, families or the public)
    • Help co-design solutions to a quality improvement problem
    • Share personal stories at meetings and events

▸ How are patient and family partners matched with projects or committees?

Requests to partner with patient and family partners are sent to the patient experience advisor (PEA). Upon review, we will send out requests to our list of patient and family partners that have experience or expressed interest in the topic. We will send out a description of the type of project or work and the specific dates and times that are being asked for.

Patient and family partners can connect with the PEA to indicate that they would like to be involved, and their availability. The PEA will confirm your involvement and connect you with the local project, committee or working group lead, who will give you any additional details you might require to be prepared to participate.

Alternatively, potential patient and family partners may be identified directly by the clinical team interested in working with them, in which case the PEA will work one-on-one with you to ensure you are prepared for that role.

Do not hesitate to connect with your PEA if you are not available for project/committee work and would prefer not to be contacted with new opportunities.

▸ What is the committment?

Time commitment: This will vary depending on the program / project.

In order to ensure fair representation from our many patients and families, the maximum term that a patient and family partner can participate in any one engagement opportunity is two years.

Patient and family partners who are interested in continuing to work with Sunnybrook beyond the two year limit are encouraged to apply to engage with us in another capacity.

▸ What about parking?

The cost of parking will be covered by the individual unit, team or committee that you will be working with as a patient and family partner.

Parking passes provided will typically be on a one-time basis (provided each time you are here) and are not to be used for purposes other than patient and family partner activities (such as visiting someone at the hospital, coming in for appointments, etc.).